Reformation has a lot to answer for, Nelson
NELSON McCausland (“Why we should use the 500th anniversary of the Reformation to reinvigorate our Christian faith”, Comment, October 5) stated: “The Reformed faith was firmly established in Ulster in the early-17th century. Scottish and English Protestants settled in Ulster as part of the official plantation, but even before that many lowland Scots had already settled in Antrim and Down.”
What was this so-called “official” plantation? Here’s a taste from Russell Jesse’s History of Ireland 1536-1691: “Ireland during the period 1536-1691 saw the first full conquest of the island by England and its colonisation with Protestant settlers from Britain. This established two central themes in future Irish history: subordination of the country to London-based governments and sectarian animosity between Catholics and Protestants.
“The new Kingdom of Ireland was declared by Henry VIII in 1541 and, in 1691, the Irish Catholic Jacobites surrendered at Limerick, thus confirming British Protestant dominance in Ireland.
“The English Reformation, by which Henry VIII broke with Papal authority in 1536, was to change Ireland totally. While the English, the Welsh and, later, the Scots accepted Protestantism, the Irish remained Catholic. The Reformation coincided with a determined effort by the English state to re-conquer and colonise Ireland. The religious schism meant that the native Irish and the Old English were to be excluded from power unless they converted to Protestantism.”
As Nelson said, it’s time to reinvigorate our Christian faith. Whatever that has to do with stealing a neighbour’s land. Here we stand — two hostile camps locked in perpetual conflict. Britain has a lot to answer for.
MALACHY SCOTT Belfast